The DUFF was actually one of the best debuts I read last year so Kody Keplinger has been an author I’ve been following for a while (I mean, she’s only like 19 or something!) I couldn’t wait to read her newest novel :)
Most high school sports teams have rivalries with other schools. At Hamilton High, it's a civil war: the football team versus the soccer team. And for her part, Lissa is sick of it. Her quarterback boyfriend, Randy, is always ditching her to go pick a fight with the soccer team or to prank their locker room. And on three separate occasions Randy's car has been egged while he and Lissa were inside, making out. She is done competing with a bunch of sweaty boys for her own boyfriend's attention.
Lissa decides to end the rivalry once and for all: she and the other players' girlfriends go on a hookup strike. The boys won't get any action from them until the football and soccer teams make peace. What they don't count on is a new sort of rivalry: an impossible girls-against-boys showdown that hinges on who will cave to their libidos first. And Lissa never sees her own sexual tension with the leader of the boys, Cash Sterling, coming.
Inspired by Aristophanes' play Lysistrata, critically acclaimed author of The Duff (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) Kody Keplinger adds her own trademark humor in this fresh take on modern teenage romance, rivalry and sexuality.
My Expectations: high but not extremely high. I wasn’t really sure of the premise but it sounded really interesting
Delivery: I feel like the author has already cemented her own style within the YA genre, as in the addictingly readable contemp novels.
Put-down-ability: when I say compelling and addicting, I mean I can’t put this down. 2/10
Shut Out has a premise that makes you wonder how Keplinger thinks up some of these stuff (
I want to start with the stuff that makes the author memorable in a great way—writing style. I feel there’s two types of ‘readability’, one where it’s simple and straight-to-the-point, the other is a complex yet compelling in a way that you don’t realize it’s been 2 hours and you haven’t stopped yet. The prose belongs in the latter and very much like I felt about The DUFF, it was so hard to put down.
And before I move on to anything else, I just want to point out that the friendships in this novel between Lissa and her friends and all the other frenemies/enemies-turned-friends, I felt the vibe of friendship, the silliness and exasperation and loyalty was all defined really well and definitely relatable. Both the good parts and bad parts of friendship was captured and I could definitely believe it. The romance however, was just average for me. I’m writing this review a few weeks after I finished the novel and I can barely remember who was involved, apart from the quarterback and some other really hot guy (too attractive? Maybe. Or maybe I just wanted another Westley…)
The plot is the sticky point for me, but it has a lot to do with personal preference than anything. Sex is a huge part of the novel both in exploring female empowerment and sexuality, and really, it’s just not something I'm able to realistically identify with. My high school wasn’t abound with everyone running around having sex (which in this book, it felt like that sometimes). I just remember feeling sometimes like “ohkayyy…. Does this really happen?” but again, just based on past precedent for me, I guess.
Rating in HP Terms: Acceptable
Recommended for: fans of more mature contemporary YA, it doesn’t really have that upper-YA feel to it, but more like a YA book that deals with older themes
Acknowledgements: urm, I don’t remember and I don’t have a copy with me :p
8/10- because it was overall an extremely engaging and enjoyable read (wow, alliterate those ‘e’s, will ya?). I loved being able to be instantly pulled in by the writing style and unique plot. I thought the themes were relevant but sometimes the execution was lacking. It felt like Keplinger had to resort to semi-preaching at times to ‘explain’ or explore the whole battle of the sexes thing. However, at a general level, it was definitely a great book that I’d easily recommend.
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